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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Some Will Walk and Others Will March

Thursday night we began to finalize plans for our September Memory Walk. Months of leg work, calls, and personal contact have led up to the big date less than a month away. Our catch phrase this year is “It all just falls into place.” At least that’s the way it seems to people who show up on walk day to find that helping hands have joined together to make sure the event runs smoothly.

A Memory Walk is a big undertaking and without community Champions, it would never happen. Champions are the teams like Fair View that have participated since the first walk I organized in 1999. They have been part of every walk, every event that the Memory Walk committee has hosted. Not satisfied with doing a little, they do a lot. They fundraise all year, and consistently support us with thousands of dollars. This year, they took another step and became a corporate sponsor.

It warms your heart to know that even in these tough economic times, people continue to support our local chapter. One of our longtime sponsors is Ken Weymuth at W-K. I was having an oopsie fixed on my new car when I asked if Ken was in the office. I had dropped off a corporate sponsor packet a few months back and had never had a chance to follow up on it. I walked into his office and asked him if he would be a sponsor and he asked, “What will it cost me?” A few minutes later I walked out check in hand.

The Sedalia Democrat has been our advertising sponsor for more than ten years. I have worked with three different publishers. The current publisher, Dave Phillips paired us up with Erin Livengood who takes the time to produce professional ads.

Third National Bank and Central Missouri Electric hold perfect corporate sponsor records. Septagon came onboard during the years Shelley Spinner coordinated the walk. That was also the time we started printing the shirts locally and Main Street Logo pitched in to do that for us.

The list goes on and on—the sweet ladies who give $5 to sponsor a walker, companies that donate food, drink, and door prizes, the host of volunteers that turn up to set up tables or dole out T-shirts, and let us not forget Don the Balloon Man who twists balloons into colorful hats.

We have a walk with ordinary people—sorry, none of us are celebrities. But more celebrities are supporting the Alzheimer’s Association and one of them decided to hold a “March” rather than a walk. Maria Shriver, California’s First Lady has organized a 5K March and candlelight vigil. Several celebrities have already committed to joining in the March—Rob Lowe, Leeza Gibbons, and Jane Fonda—to mention a few. Celebrities can make a powerful impact, but that doesn’t replace the efforts needed by everyday people who have spent time in the trenches caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. It doesn’t replace the hugs of support and encouragement for caregivers to help them make it through difficult days, or smiles to lift their spirits when they are overwhelmed with responsibility.

Think about what you can do to make it “fall into place.” It takes all of us who know what it’s like to make the effort to bring Alzheimer’s awareness to our local area so that it might expand to the national arena and onward to a global movement. So whether we march or walk, it is important that we do everything we can to call attention to the alarming escalation of dementia as the baby boomers age. The only way to move forward is one step at a time.

Copyright © August 2010 L.S. Fisher
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